Duterte to lead Asean 2017 launch
Policemen secure the SMX Convention Center in Davao City ahead of the official kick-off ceremony of the ASEAN 2017 Summit today.
Duterte to lead Asean 2017 launch
C‘EST CEBU - Janvic Mateo, (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2017 - 12:05am

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte and Cabinet officials will launch today the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) 2017 chairmanship of the Philippines in a ceremony at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang.

Today’s activities are expected to include the unveiling of the P1 commemorative coin as well as special postage stamps.

The government will also launch the ASEAN 2017 website and social media accounts, as well as the Visit Asean@50 video.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said that the kick-off aims to spread awareness about the Philippine hosting of the summit, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

events scheduled throughout the year include the 30th ASEAN Summit in April, the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings coinciding with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary celebration in Metro Manila in August and the 31st ASEAN Summit in Clark in November.

Leaders from ASEAN member-states and other dialogue partners – including the US, Japan, South Korea and China –are expected to take part in the events. 

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the country’s chairing the ASEAN this year is expected to facilitate the development goals of the country under the administration of President Duterte.

“We appreciate and celebrate the fact that we are taking on the ASEAN leadership, chairmanship for this particular year and we look forward to more fruitful achievements this coming year, especially in regional cooperation,” Abella said.

Mindanao Development Authority director Romeo Montenegro said regional cooperation mechanisms would be highlighted in the country’s hosting of the ASEAN this year. He also cited its contribution to the country’s development efforts.

Social issues

The Philippines will raise the issue on the rights of the poor and other vulnerable sectors at this year’s ASEAN Summit hosted by Manila.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who also heads the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), made the announcement yesterday.

“As host of the 2017 ASEAN, the Philippines wants to bring to the table issues and concerns that evolve around the necessity to promote and protect the rights of migrant issues,” Taguiwalo said.

“The rights of the vulnerable sectors of women, children, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, farmers, workers, fisherfolk, among others should also be addressed,” she added.

“We want to make the ASEAN more relevant to the lives of poor and ordinary citizens by highlighting issues that concern them, with the end goal to forge agreements to uphold their welfare and improve their quality of life,” she pointed out.

Taguiwalo noted that poverty is a serious concern in many ASEAN member-states and that the challenge is to bring down the poverty level in the entire region.

In the Philippines, she said there is an urgent need to create more stable, productive jobs and means of employment for millions of underemployed and unemployed Filipinos.

“We hope that we can learn from the successful experiences of other ASEAN member-states when it comes to generating steady livelihood opportunities for their people with the support of the government,” she said.

As head of the ASCC, Taguiwalo said her department would help the ASEAN achieve a more people-oriented and socially-responsible orientation to foster greater solidarity and unity among the people in member-states.

“Our main goal as the chair of the ASCC is to contribute to efforts to make the ASEAN more people-oriented and people-centered,” she said. “Concretely, what we want is to bring the ASEAN closer to the people, and make it an institution that is responsive to the welfare and social needs of citizens in the member-states, able to provide assistance and guidance when it can in furtherance of advocacies and actions that directly benefit the poor and vulnerable sectors,” she stressed.

Since the Philippines is largely agrarian with underdeveloped strategic industries, Taguiwalo said there is a need for the government to come up with livelihood programs with links to other industries to make development organic and sustainable.

“We hope to refer to livelihood programs that link with other manufacturing industries, businesses and trade that are locally available and are substantially important for the ASEAN Region,” she said.

Asean stamp

Meanwhile, the Philippine Postal Corp. is set to launch today in Davao City its ASEAN 50 commemorative stamp.

“As a founding member of ASEAN, the Philippines’ chairmanship and hosting of the ASEAN is a historic and important milestone event as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this regional organization in 1967,” said Postmaster General Joel Otarra.

The ASEAN 50, PHILIPPINES 2017 commemorative stamps feature the official logo and this year’s theme: “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”??

PHLPost printed 101,000 copies of the stamps, to be sold for P12 each.

PHLPost expressed hope the postage stamps would spread awareness of and educate the public about ASEAN. – Mayen Jaymalin, Evelyn Macairan


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